"A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings - about human feelings and frailties.""Blake has always been a favorite, the lyrics, not so much the prophetic books, but I suppose Yeats influenced me more as a young poet, and the American, Robert Frost.""Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.""I am now seventy, rather glad, really, that I won't live to see the horrors to come in the 21st century.""I did know Ted Hughes and I partly wrote the book to explain to myself and others the complexities of a marriage that was for six years wonderfully productive of poetry and then ended in tragedy.""I dislike literary jargon and never use it. Criticism has only one function and that is to help readers read and understand literature. It is not a science, it is an aid to art.""I don't like poetry that just slaps violent words on a canvas, as it were.""I have always made my own rules, in poetry as in life - though I have tried of late to cooperate more with my family. I do, however, believe that without order or pattern poetry is useless.""I like rhyme because it is memorable, I like form because having to work to a pattern gives me original ideas.""I married a young Englishman in Cambridge in 1955 and have lived in Britain every since.""I play with language a great deal in my poems, and I enjoy that. I try to condense language, that is, I try to express complicated but I hope real emotions as simply as possible. But that doesn't mean the poems are simple, just that they are as truthful as I can make them.""I remain loyal to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert in music and to Shakespeare and Jane Austen in literature.""I think a poet, like a painter, should be a craftsperson.""I work very hard on all my poems, but most of the work consists of trying not to sound as if I had worked. I try to make them sound as natural as possible, but within a quite strict form, which to my ears has a lot to do with musical rhythm and sound.""I write, or used to write, to explain to myself situations I couldn't otherwise solve or understand. Meditation comes very naturally to me.""I'm not really quiet or shy. Ask any of my friends! But I always ground my poetry in life itself. Poetry is an art of language, though, so I am always aware of every word's meaning, or multiple meanings.""My earlier poems were sadder than my poems are today, perhaps because I wrote them in confusion or when I was unhappy. But I am not a melancholy person, quite the contrary, no one enjoys laughing more than I do.""Peter Lucas and I live in Durham but spend a great of time in North Wales, where we have a cottage in the mountains, and in Vermont, USA, with my sister - who is a children's writer married to a poet.""Sylvia Plath was just a month and a half older than I, and when she committed suicide I was only 30 - and very shocked and sorry. I never knew her personally.""There is far too much literary criticism of the wrong kind. That is why I never could have survived as an academic.""When everything is for 'fun' nothing is for the good.""Yes, I do often write poems from the mind, but I hope I don't ignore feelings and emotions."
Stevenson was born to American parents in Cambridge, England, but was raised in the United States and was educated in Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, where her father, C.L. Stevenson, was a professor of philosophy. After obtaining her bachelor's and master's degrees and graduating with honours, she returned to the UK where she has lived most of her life. She has been married four times.
She is the author of over a dozen volumes of poetry, of some books of essays and literary criticism, of a controversial biography of the American poet Sylvia Plath, Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath (1989), and of two critical studies of Elizabeth Bishop.
Living in America: Poems. Ann Arbor, MI: Generation Press, 1965.
Elizabeth Bishop. New York: Twayne, 1966; London: Collins, 1967.
Reversals. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1969. ISBN 9780819510471
Travelling Behind Glass: Selected Poems, 1963-1973. London & New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
The French Inheritance, Putnam, 1974, ISBN 9780399112713
Correspondences: A Family History in Letters. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1974; London: Oxford University Press, 1974. ISBN 9780819540737
Cliff Walk: A Poem, with a drawing by Anne Newnham. Richmond, Surrey: Keepsake Press, 1977. 180 copies.
Enough of Green. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.
A Morden Tower Reading. Newcastle upon Tyne: Morden Tower, 1977.
Sonnets for Five Seasons. Herefordshire: Five Seasons Press, 1979. 250 copies.
Turkish Rondo, Morrow, 1981 ISBN 9780688006389
Green Mountain, Black Mountain. Boston: Rowan Tree Press, 1982.
Minute by Glass Minute. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. ISBN 9780192119476
New Poems. Leamington Spa: Bath Place Community Arts Press, 1982. 100 copies.
A Legacy. Durham: Taxus, 1983. 350 copies.
Making Poetry. Oxford: Pisces Press, 1983. 200 copies.
Black Grate Poems. Oxford: Inky Parrot Press, 1984. 360 copies.
The Fiction-makers. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. ISBN 9780192119728
Selected Poems, by Frances Bellerby, edited by Stevenson London: Enitharmon Press, 1986.
Winter Time. London: Mid-Northumberland Arts Group, 1986.
Selected Poems, 1956-1986. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. ISBN 9780192820624
1985 Anthology: The Observer and Ronald Duncan Foundation International Poetry Competition on Behalf of the Arvon Foundation, selected by Stevenson, Amy Clampitt, and Craig Raine. Beaworthy: Arvon Foundation, 1987.
Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath, with additional material by Lucas Myers, Dido Merwin, and Richard Murphy. London: Viking, 1989; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. ISBN 9780395453742
The Other House. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. ISBN 9780192827395
Four and a Half Dancing Men. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN 9780192831644
The Gregory Anthology 1991-1993, edited by Stevenson and Dannie Abse. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994.
The Collected Poems of Anne Stevenson, 1955-1995. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop. London: Bellew, 1998. ISBN 9781852247256
Between the Iceberg and the Ship: Selected Essays. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998.
Granny Scarecrow. Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2000.
A Report from the Border: New & Rescued Poems, Bloodaxe, 2003, ISBN 9781852246167
Poems 1955-2005. Tarset: Bloodaxe, 2005. ISBN 9781852247218
To arrive at a true understanding of Anne Stevenson's poetry, you have to go deep. In fact, the Deep is a very good place to start. Jutting into the Humber estuary like a vast steel fin, the Deep is Hull's impressive new aquatic attraction - where you expect to find tropical fish rather than topical poetry - yet the first thing the visitor sees, before descending to the bottom of Europe's deepest tank, is a line by Stevenson: "The sea is as near as we come to another world."